“Mrs. Doubtfire” has pushed back its return to the Great White Way.
The musical, based on the 1993 Robin Williams family comedy of the same name, is now set to reopen April 14, a month later than its originally scheduled March 15 return date.
The show’s producer Kevin McCollum confirmed the news to The New York Times on Friday. Speaking about the decision, McCollum explained it was made based on the trends of New York City COVID-19 cases, as well as tourism in the city.
“The good news is that it looks like the virus is calming down, but there are still a lot of unknowns,” McCollum told the Times. “It was just clear that April was a better time to open, given the trends with tourism, and thinking about when families and groups will start to feel comfortable.”
The Broadway production of “Mrs. Doubtfire” has faced numerous delays due to COVID-19. After a run at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, the show began previews at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on March 9, 2020. The show, along with all other Broadway productions, closed on the 12th as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Mrs. Doubtfire” resumed previews 19. months later, on Oct. 21, and officially opened Dec. 5. However, a month later it was announced that the show would close down Jan. 10, for an initially planned 9-week hiatus.
The decision to temporarily close “Mrs. Doubtfire” coincided with the omicron surge that hit New York City and resulted in the early endings of numerous Broadway productions, including “Diana: The Musical,” “Waitress,” “Jagged Little Pill,” “Thoughts of a Colored Man” and “Ain’t Too Proud.” “Mrs. Doubtfire” had already cancelled performances due to COVID-19 case numbers. The move was made due to falling audience attendance numbers as audiences avoided theaters, in order to ensure that the production could save money and return when ticket sales increased. The closure has resulted in the 115-person cast and crew losing their jobs without pay, although McCollum has stated that the entire cast has been invited back when the show reopens.
The music and lyrics of “Mrs. Doubtfire” are written by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, with Karey Kirkpatrick writing the show’s book with John O’Farrell. The Broadway production is directed by Jerry Zaks with choreography by Lorin Latarro and music supervision, arrangements and orchestrations by Ethan Popp. Rob McClure leads the cast in the title role of Daniel Hillard/Mrs Doubtfire, with Jenn Gambatese, Brad Oscar, Peter Bartlett, Charity Angél Dawson, Mark Evans, J. Harrison Ghee, Analise Scarpaci, Jake Ryan Flynn, Avery Sell and Jodi Kimura rounding out the ensemble. The musical is based on the script of the original “Mrs. Doubtfire” film, written by Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon.
Reviews for the production were mixed when it premiered. Variety‘s Naveen Kumar wrote that “even in the belabored tradition of screen-to-stage musical adaptations, ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ is doggedly risk-averse, opting for handsomely outfitted, faithful simulacrum over reinvention or surprise. ‘Hairspray’ it is not.”